Phil Anselmo: ''Cowboys From Hell' Was a Misunderstood Album, Nobody Liked It'

"In 1990, we were hated, no one f--king liked us," former Pantera singer adds.

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Former Pantera vocalist recently touched on the band's classic effort "Cowboys From Hell," calling it a "misunderstood album" and remembering the hate group received back in the day.

Phil kicked off the Kaaos TV chat by discussing his new band the Illegals. "The Illegals are still unheard of, which is great," he said. "Can you see the greatness of it? Everything can grow and grow and grow. And I love, to a certain point, that the first record could be listened to one time and misunderstood."

Switching to Pantera, Anselmo noted, "You know what other record was misunderstood in Europe? 'Cowboys From Hell.' Nobody liked it, nobody got us. We toured with Judas Priest in 1990 and also '91, we were hated, we were hated. No one f--king liked us.

"However, when we put out 'Vulgar Display of Power,' it validated f--king 'Cowboys From Hell.' So it made people go, 'Oh... I get it now. This is the direction. This is the band. This is a solidification.' So it's not that I am looking forward to replicating any certain style for the next Illegals record, but it will be what it is, and I think that it could very well be... It could validate the first record. Maybe. If I feel like validating anything."

Asked about the goals he has set up for the remainder of his musical career, Phil replied (via Blabbermouth), "I have nothing left to prove except that I can make interesting music that some people will love, some people will loathe, but such is the way of the f--king beast.

"If you went around the world and you asked everyone, 'Hey, did you like Pantera?' there's gonna be millions that say, 'I've never even f--king heard of 'em or know,' So, Pantera, don't get me wrong, we sold millions of records, but it's to those million fans. And I've always said, Pantera fans are the f--king best, because without them, we'd be f--king zero," the singer concluded.

Anselmo and the Illegals' debut album, "Walk Through Exits Only," saw its release in July 2013 via Housecore Records.

41 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Cemetery Gates, first time I heard it was revolutionary to me
    Same here, looking for a new song to listen to. Checked some website back in the early 00's and Cemetery Gates was one of the recommended songs. Still love it to this day.
    I've loved that album since the day i heard it!
    That album, that tour. I saw them open for Skid Row on their first major tour and I thought, My God...A Tsunami is about to hit the mainland...The album, and the tour, was just that overwhelming.
    I saw that tour, too, and it was frickin' great! (both bands!!) It was about a week or so before Vulgar came out. My girlfriend left and waited for us out in the car. She said Pantera sounded like some crappy Black Sabbath rip-off. Her loss!
    Sounds probably cheesy but when i heard cowboys from hell album first time it changed my life. CFH and vulgar display of power (well honestly every pantera album) are some of my favorite albums of all time.
    Not cheesy at all man. It did the same for me. Metal was truly, in sort of a lull at that time and that album gave it the kick in the ass it needed.
    Just my opinion but I think the stuff with the Illegals is pretty poor, I know its totally different to Down or Pantera or Superjoint, but I really can't get into it at all
    It's made like that for purpose. Like Phil have said, he is underground extreme metal guy in heart.
    Theres a difference between recording an underground raw extreme metal album and having the same blast-beat laden riffage repetitively and lazily thrown together, which to me, I felt Walk Through Exits Only sounds like. Love Anselmo and respect everything he's done for metal but this left me disappointed, and I'm a fan of extreme metal
    It sounds like you didn't listen to the album at all haha... The album is really quite cool once you listen to it a couple times. The musicianship on the album is top notch the riffs are complicated and mostly odd time signature riffs as well. The drums aren't the standard thrash/metal blast beats they are groovy and interesting. The album may not have the best production but it is raw as hell!
    You know how I know you're a metal-based guitar player? Being complicated and playing in odd time signatures doesn't have anything to do with quality or the lack of it. It either sounds good or it doesn't... and I'm not talking about the production quality.
    I lke a lot CFH, but i understand if some people didn't liked it, cause it was a different sound by the time, an agrresive heavy sound that no one else had explored before, it doesnt sounded similar to any other heavy metal band at the time.
    link no1
    I can't imagine people hating the album though, I suppose it was something different back then...and people are scared of things that are different. Cowboys From Hell is still my favorite Pantera album by far. 'Art of Shredding', 'Primal Concrete Sledge' and 'Cemetery Gates' are just brilliant songs.
    Up until then, Pantera was a Glam band. It was the equivalent of Poison releasing a black metal album. The second album showed that it wasn't a one off thing, and that this is where the band was going, and weren't returning to their glam days. THAT'S what he was saying
    When Cowboys From Hell was released nothing else on a major label sounded like it. It was the first time that music THAT HEAVY got major distribution (even MTV played the videos). I can still remember a lot of metal fans making fun of Pantera in those days... the word "cheesy" was thrown around a lot. For me, it was just the beginning of finding heavier and heavier music to love.
    Wow really? I didn't know that, and never espected that reaction from europe metal fans of CFH back in its time.
    I actually didn't like Pantera at first cuz of Phil's singing but after a while what really drew me in was Dimebag's guitar playing. There will never be another like him and CFH was Dimebag giving heavy metal it's most original sound since Sabbath, and no one has touched that level of showmanship and technicality since then. Furthermore without CFH we would not have the thousands of bands that try to sound like them now.
    Vulgar was when I noticed them. So disgusted with Metallica's wussified Black Album at that time...Vulgar gave me hope. Vulgar and Rust in Peace were it at the time.
    To this day still may favorite. When I saw the video on Headbangers ball I ran out and bought the tape the next morning! Then Found out they were coming to down Ran out and got tickets. That show was in a club with Prong and Mind Over 4 on that tour (NOV 1990, Chicago IL. Medusa's Night club The only complaint I had was that live when Dime took a lead break the bottom dropped out. I believe that was the last record that had guitar backing tracks under the leads. Maybe thats why I like it so much!
    That video! I still remember exactly where I was when I saw that on HBB. It's one of those few moments where the exact details never go away.
    It was a solid album, he should be ashamed of the albums after Vulgar, those were plain bad except for a few songs there and there.
    The Illegals are unknown because Phil pretty much went "I'm just gonna take years of experience and write poorly put together choppy lyrics" That's not the only issue but that was my first impression